Tuesday, December 31, 2013

75: if we are faithless...

I could feel my soul drinking it up, subtly, softly.

Don't they say that is how it always is when you are going to teach a Bible lesson? God teaches you too.

I was preparing to teach Sunday School. A lesson about Jesus walking on water.

The summary statement on the assigned sheet of paper read, "Through this lesson, children will learn that there will be times in life when our faith is tested. Life will not always be easy, and we will need to let our faith in God help keep us afloat during the difficult times in our lives."

I have been utterly overwhelmed with my job. It isn't fun to feel like a failure week after week. To feel like no one really understands. To not know what to do and wish giving up was an option.

The memory verse was Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I'm sure as I read that verse in preparation I thought, "I can't."

On Sunday morning I asked the children for prayer requests. As they gave them I heard myself reply, "Can you do that? Can you fix that? No. So we need God to do it."

I heard myself say that no one can strengthen us like Jesus. Parents and teachers can, but not like Jesus. Only God can read our thoughts, know our feelings, know exactly what we need. And have the power to do it.

I heard myself say that even though Peter lost faith in Jesus, looked out at the waves and began to sink, Jesus still caught him by the hand and lifted him up.

So I came home, and even though I had no faith that things would work out, definitely no faith that I could do all things, even through Him, not even any faith to pray and expect miracles to happen anymore, I quieted my soul and let Jesus know that I still believe in His power and am willing to have my hand caught by His as I am sinking, if He will.

One of my favorite verses:
"If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."
2 Timothy 2:13

Friday, December 27, 2013

74: put down the list, shut up, and get to know the person

I saw this on Facebook and thought, "THAT is what I was about to post about!"

In The Surrendered Single, the author encouraged me to put down my list, shut up, and listen.

I've noticed that I have adopted (or maybe I've always had) a bad habit of coming up with ways to make people better. Or rather, I think, "If So-and-So would do this...and this...and that...then they wouldn't rub me the wrong way." And if they don't rub me the wrong way, then they will be a better person!

Now I don't always offer my unsolicited advice, but sometimes I do, or sometimes, when I have been recently rubbed awry, I mull over and over in my head how the offender could fix certain personality quirks or character deficiencies to be perfect.

Ie. so that they will never offend me and cause interpersonal conflict between us ever again.

Skipping past the self-centeredness of that thought for the time being, I've been attempting to try on a life-transforming new habit:

Accepting people for who they are.

Oh, isn't that such an overused phrase these days!

What I mean though is getting to know the person for the person, including their tendencies that make me cringe or feel less than blissful, and dropping the list of perfection that I unconsciously hold up as the solution to all their social woes.

There is a place for sanctification, for self-betterment, for critique, rebuke, criticism, and a dose of motherly advice.

But what would happen if I stopped measuring prospects by a list, stopped thinking I could fix people by them changing, and started getting to know people in their entirety, faults and all, and accepting the whole being, accepting the whole being without offering my list of ideas for improvement in exchange?

I might like who I become.

Alia Joy wrote a piece on Kindred Grace that more or less relates to what I just wrote. Check out the link!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

poetic distraction (x)

I bought a thin blue poem book the other day. I'm not a poetry girl, but this one was quaint and published in 1924, and I want to be a poetry girl.

The following page just hit me between the eyes. And since I had nothing else to write about, I thought I'd share it (because it's too long to share in a FB status!).

The Mountain Woman

Among the sullen peaks she stood at bay
And paid life's hard account from her small store.
Knowing the code of mountain wives, she bore
The burden of the days without a sigh;
And, sharp against the somber winter sky,
I saw her drive her steers afield each day.

Hers was the hand that sunk the furrows deep
Across the rocky, grudging southern slope.
At first youth left her face, and later, hope;
Yet through each mocking spring and barren fall,
She reared her lusty brood, and gave them all
That gladder wives and mothers love to keep.

And when the sheriff shot her eldest son
Beside his still, so well she knew her part,
She gave no healing tears to ease her heart;
But took the blow upstanding, with her eyes
As drear and bitter as the winter skies.
Seeing her then, I thought that she had won.

But yesterday her man returned too soon
And found her tending, with a reverent touch,
One scarlet bloom; and, having drunk too much,
He snatched its flame and quenched it in the dirt.
Then, like a creature with a mortal hurt,
She fell, and wept away the afternoon.

--Du Bose Heyward, Skylines and Horizons

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

73: why I need to spend time with teenage homeschoolers

Remember when you were a teenager?

Remember how idealistic you were?

Remember how you knew what was right and what was wrong and how to carry the torch for righteousness against a flood of naysayers?

A decade later I'm thinking I need to spend some more time with that generation again. I need to be re-inspired by those who haven't been affected by what is to come.

We need older people for their wisdom and testimonies.

We need younger people for their passion for holiness.

And then somehow to be a compilation of both. :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

72: rotic nonsense*

This evening I did something that has become rare. I curled up on the couch and read and read and read. Kellie from Nothing Less leant me one of the books she reviewed: Dear Mr. Knightley. I'm pretty sure it's a spin-off of Daddy Long Legs, which I read two years ago, but this version is wonderfully scintillating. Anyway, I sat on the couch bundled up, with my dog at my feet, absorbed in Sam's world.

I read the scene where she and Kyle write everything out--all their real-life nightmares of their time in the foster system, life with abusive parents, all the secrets that have held power over them. (I was reminded why I want to be a foster parent--to make a difference and be different.)

I'm e-mailing a guy right now. And my natural inclination as the days pass for him to respond is to create a false intimacy between us. We've only exchanged, what, three e-mails maybe?

I'm assuming all girls do, but sometimes I crave the intimacy of--how to word this--almost like a diary/therapist combined. Someone to assuage the feather twirling around in the air, tossed on every wind, and to help bring it back softly to earth.

But I can't assume that with a stranger, can I? I have to be patient. I have to stand back. I have to force myself to let things progress at a natural pace.

I'm not naturally patient with things like this.

So I decided to blog instead. Because I want to communicate with someone, and a blog seems more readable than a journal entry that only I will read.

Does any of this make sense? Probably not. But when you've been romantically reading late on a wintry night, it's less about rationality and more about feelings.

And in the end, I can talk things out with God. And when I do, I feel just as comforted, if not more so, than I would with an infinite human.

*rotic: romance without the man

Thursday, December 12, 2013

71: more on our favorite topic

Before my friend was engaged (yes, it does still happen...to people like us even), she ruminated that filtering through prospects had less to do with finding the right guy and  more to do with choosing what life you wanted to have. One wasn't worse than another. She could equally enjoy a hippie wedding or a traditional one. But when you say "I do," you narrow your options to one life. That is okay. It just means you don't have to wrack your brain anymore figuring out what you want--you want to be happy with your husband.

Today I visited the Bass Pro store for the first time. It is like toyland for men! Mounted mountain goats and deer and wolves and who-knows-what are everywhere, climbing the walls, decorating the stairs. Live fish swim in a real pond in the middle of the store with manikins in waders fly-fishing among them. Two stories of camouflage for men, women, and children surround you (including camo onesies and camo lingerie--I kid you not).

And I thought, this is so cool.

I could marry a guy that liked this kind of stuff.


The guy who works in finance, lives in the state capital, and enjoys concerts and theatre.

The guy who wants to spend his honeymoon backpacking Europe.

The guy who wants to be an Assemblies of God missionary.

(Did I mention I joined Christian Mingle for one more month?)

Different guys, different lives.

Door One, Two, and Three. Which life will be the one for me?

Camo lingerie with an arsenal of weapons under the bed or high heels and red lipstick for the latest Broadway show?

Tho I'll admit, there's a fine line between cool camo and redneck camo.

And I'm really not a red pumps and lipstick kind of girl either.

But as I'm learning, it's not about the list. It is about loving an in-the-flesh guy and wanting to spend the rest of your life with him. Right? Right.

*sits at computer and stares at screen*

Saturday, December 7, 2013

70: why I need the OT

The Old Testament gets a lot of flack.

I mean, you've got the Law.

And genealogies.

And prophecies that require an M. div to understand.

But I desperately need the Old Testament.

Because in it, I see the heart of God.

Because through it, God has shown me His love like He never had before.

The theme runs throughout. God blesses His people blessing upon blessing, lifts her out of the mire, clothes her, gives her food and jewels, and what does she do? She uses those blessings to go play the harlot with God's enemies, brazenly rejecting Him and pursuing others. God warns, God punishes, God pleads. And the theme, always the theme, is "return to Me." Return and all will be forgiven. Return and I will call you a virgin even! And as He's punishing them for their sin, turning them over to their enemies, fulfilling His promised consequences, He is also guaranteeing judgment on the nations who are taking advantage of His people and saying that one day His people will come back to Him and be pure in His sight.

Because it is all for the glory of His name. Because He is not going to let them go. Because even though she has openly committed adultery and prostitution, not by need or deception, but willfully, He still just wants her back.

That kind of love is unfathomable.

That is the kind of love I needed all the Old Testament to understand.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

69: letting go of control

I picked up The Surrendered Single by Laura Doyle at a library sale for 50 cents. A secular book on relationships? Really? But, throwing caution to the wind (or maybe just preparing myself to read with a grain of salt), I bought it and began reading. Every turn of the page was a mindblower. This book is spot-on!

Now that I'm 120 pages in of the 297, I can say there are a few things I'm not sure if I agree with. But the overall concept is almost . . . Scriptural.

The premise? The desire to be in control is preventing women from "attracting and marrying the man who's right for you" (as the subtitle says).

So here are some chapter titles and what I've been learning in each.

Surrender to Your Desire to Be Happily Married

"Dishonoring your desire to get married is a way of protecting yourself from disappointment and trying to avoid becoming dependent," writes Doyle. "Denying what you want is a way of controlling your desires so that you can ward off the fear, disappointment, and humiliation" (p33).

Give Up the Idea of the Perfect Man
"As we all know, no one is perfect. . . . A checklist [ie. the list of qualities you want in a guy] is a suit of armor that protects you from having to face your fears . . . . As long as it's never met--and it won't be--you don't have to risk your heart. Keeping your checklist is a way to stay invulnerable" (42).

It's also a way to stay in control by "dictating the qualities of an acceptable future mate" (43).

That's not a relationship.

At least, not with another (messy) human being.
And boy, am I guilty of that! I can't even decide what should be on the checklist because I don't know what I would be most happy with and what I think is perfect. I want to control all those factors so I will be incandescently happy, don't you know.

Stop Male-Bashing and Start Admiring Men.
The title says it all. Male-bashing is rather "counterproductive" (50).

Flirt with Every Man You See
Ok, don't gasp! She calls it "flirting," but really it's just being friendly and making a point to smile at men.
How many times do I on-purpose avoid eye-contact with a passing male or purposefully don't smile just so I don't give him the wrong impression or encourage him or make him think I'm open to conversation?
It's a habit!
How is a man ever supposed to get through my stonewall?
"[W]e know that smiling can lead to the unexpected, and the unexpected often makes us feel as if we are out of control, and that makes us nervous" (59).
So I just shut down any conversation before it starts. Just to be on the safe side.
Well, that's attractive.

Receive Graciously
Be a gracious receiver of gifts and compliments.
"Part of what makes receiving difficult is that we are not controlling what is offered, so any time something comes our way unexpectedly, we feel vulnerable . . . .When you refuse a compliment or a material gift, you are taking control of the situation" (p114-115).
That hit me right between the eyes.
Women are designed to be receivers, but, somehow, owning up to who we are makes us (me) feel vulnerable. Accepting what we feel we don't deserve makes us feel out of control. And so I take control and try to push the guy out of the way by not receiving graciously.
That's it for now. My hope is that the Lord will use these thoughts to sanctify me--tear off my desire for control as I simultaneously learn to trust Him--so that I can trust the Lord in more areas of my life and become the kind of woman who will be a blessing to her husband.
And hopefully learn how to do the process of getting a husband a little better. *smile*

Saturday, November 23, 2013

68: full disclosure of my online dating experiences this year

November 28, 2012 -- the day I signed up for a year subscription to eHarmony, my first paid online dating site subscription.

What a ride!

In commemoration of the expiration of my subscription, I would like to share a summary of my experiences. Ok?

First there was J--. He's the reason I joined eHarmony. I had heard from him in the summer and was intrigued by his profile even though I couldn't see his picture. After thinking about him for months, and praying about if it was okay with God for me to even pursue relationships at this time, I subscribed and immediately replied to his 5 questions. He had been homeschooled, came from a large family, loved backpacking (uh oh) and traveling (yay), and went to a church that was emergent (red flag). He wrote wonderfully lengthy e-mails but didn't want to talk in depth about doctrine (or even spiritual things, it seemed) via e-mail, but then he never really pursued meeting in person either (frustrating!). After three months he said we seemed too different, and all I felt I had lost was a great e-mailing companion.

(Thanks to him, though, I tried out Doctor Who and am now a definite Whovian. Just in time for the 50th too!)

Then there was T--. He lived in Wyoming. He was 9 years older than me, mostly bald, and 5'9". But I thought he was the cute kind of bald, and hey, he's from Wyoming, how cool is that? Like J--, he had contacted me months earlier, before I subscribed. One of the voluntary profile questions he had answered was "Was Michael Jackson a genius or crazy?" (actually I can't remember what the question was exactly). He answered a genius, and that he used that genius to lead millions astray. I laughed, considered, wondered if he was too over the top (based off of other things he had said), and decided to give him a chance. Unlike J--, our conversations went deep, fast. I ended up telling him it couldn't go anywhere romantically because he would not submit himself to the accountability of fellow believers (and with some of the things he believed, he kinda needed it). But it wasn't all for naught. His last e-mail to me started with,  "I fervently enjoyed your rebuttal to me. You are a wise and wonderful woman," and ended with, "It is not often that a woman will write like you so I pray the Lord will bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you. Go in peace." :D

Then I got a hit from a guy I had seen on Christian Café maybe a year earlier. He lived in southern California, and I had been really, really interested in him. I had even printed out his profile and KEPT it. He sent me 5 questions, I replied, he replied, I replied...and he's still sitting in my inbox. Maybe I scared him off?

By this time it was summer, and I had been keeping an eye on my unpaid ChristianMingle account. A fellow from only an hour away had sent me a message. He wanted to homeschool his kids, was 30, short, established in a job, and, to put it simply, hot. And he had sent ME a message. After thinking that over for a couple weeks, I dug deep and paid a three month subscription so I could read his e-mail. I wrote back...and didn't hear from him for the next six weeks.

So, meanwhile, I contacted CPS. His profile was funny, and I wanted him to know so. I wasn't interested in him--he was rather unattractive and I wasn't sure if I was okay with that. He wrote back. I asked him another question about his profile, reportedly out of curiosity for how a fellow believer thinks. We continued to write back and forth, back and forth, and, funnily enough, he went to the same church the original J-- went to! Small world! We ended up becoming good friends (as much as you can virtually). At long last (a month and a half?) he asked if I wanted to meet. And I had to tell him--after a month and a half of rollercoasting it--that I wasn't interested. He took it very well--he was so kind and patient and good-humored--and told me he hadn't thought my original message to him had been an expression of interest anyway, only friendship, so, in other words, I thankfully hadn't led him on. Since both of our subscriptions were about to expire, he said we could keep on messaging since we just enjoyed each other's company. Right before our subscriptions ended, I found out he had a couple of girls he was pursuing, so I didn't feel bad at all, and our friendship and subscriptions just quietly came to an end.

During my whole friendship with CPS, and while I was waiting to hear from short hot guy (SHG), I had two instant messenger conversations with two young homeschool guys. BC from Arizona was 25 years old, good-looking, went to a family-integrated church (which I thought was cool), and was definitely not ready to support a family. He also never really asked questions about me. ER from San Diego was 26 years old, Reformed (which I'm not), and creepily reminded me of the actor who played the paranoid husband in He Knew He Was Right. That was hard to break off because at that moment I really enjoyed the attention but I was really not interested and he kept IMing me.

Finally I heard back from SHG--he had been in a car accident, thus the long response time. I wrote back. He took another several weeks to reply. I wrote back. And as my subscription was expiring, I did the ultra bold thing and sent him my personal e-mail address (and not even my junk e-mail address)! And then I waited, nervous that I had just shot myself in the foot. But what could I do? I wasn't going to subscribe AGAIN for him!

Meanwhile I went back to eHarmony and responded to J-2, a heavier set (not a problem at all), highschool teacher that also lives somewhat nearby. We e-mailed back and forth, but his e-mails were short and rather unsubstantial. Finally he said he didn't spend much time on his computer and that, if I wanted, I could call him, and he left me his number. I decided I wasn't that interested.

Around this time I also realized that maybe I don't want to meet a guy online. Not ideally. Ideally I want to experience that flutter of butterflies from seeing someone in person that you like, but the interest or possible interest has yet to be expressed.

To my surprise and excitement, SHG wrote back on my personal e-mail address! To make a drawn-out story short, we are still e-mailing, but he takes so long to reply that I'm wondering if it's even worth replying anymore, if I'm really that interested (and if I'm willing to pursue something with someone as short as I am).

And that sums up my year-long journey through online dating!

As a final note:
After all the profiles I have viewed, I like to think that my current listening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will make me a more eligible match to any future prospects. :-P

Friday, November 22, 2013

67: my turning point

Maybe the turning point is when you can (after a decade of not being able to) pick up and move on. When the strong wave of infatuation sweeps over you and, after a couple days of recovering from the tsunami, you can continue on with the crush as part of last week's history instead of today's trauma.

Maybe it's when God hands you this thing called life and you finally, FINALLY, accept, with reluctance--but it grows on you--that whole cliché that life is now not sometime down the road. When you harness your hope as a tool to become the person you want to be now instead of sincerely believing you'll be that person once you have another person by your side.

It's not about giving up hope or losing the I-like-this-guy-and-can't-believe-I-finally-have-someone-to-like moments or leaving behind the depressing and-now-there-is-no-one-to-like-and-no-one-likes-me times or never again sitting in front of the computer and living vicariously through a Christmas Hallmark movie (because, personally, sometimes that's the best kind of therapy).

Maybe it's when you more often realize that the reason you are obsessing over this deeply held desire is because you haven't had any quality God time in the last three days, and that if you just spent some quality time with your Sustainer you wouldn't feel so desperate and thirsty and hungry and crazy in need of attention from a boy right now.

Thankful for the turning point. Thankful that I can still want to be a wife and mother.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

66: reacting to the love birds

Reactions. My reactions.

Teenage couple standing in the street after dark clinging to each other while I give them a look that says, "Do you WANT to be run over? Good grief!"

Early 20s girl laughing and screaming as she runs away flirtatiously from her late 20s boyfriend as I think, "Oh my word, you are flirting so LOUDLY."

If I am so pro-marriage why do I think this way? Aren't boys and girls supposed to be attracted to each other, flirt, fall in love, and marry? Why am I still rolling my eyes?

No. 1: I'm well aware that not all that glitters is gold. How many flirtations actually end in marriage? How many romances actually make it to the altar?

No. 2: I'm still unconsciously affected by the well-imbedded "why not me" syndrome that plagues every girl from 13 years old (or younger) onward!

No. 3: Flirting is bad because flirting is defrauding and putting yourself forward and generally making a fool of yourself, right? I haven't yet learned the appropriate place--and there is an appropriate place--for flirting in the progress of a relationship.

Skepticism, envy, and shrinking away from bold public displays of inner emotions (or, in my cynicism, "hormones").

Will I ever become one of those women who look on young, "in love" couples and say, "Aren't they so cute?"

*insert raised eyebrow, twisted mouth, and questioning eyes*

Don't know!

Go get a marriage license!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

65: moving forward

In a Facebook status, a friend wrote:

"Instead of thinking about being lonely, think about praying for your spouse, bettering yourself for that person, and work with every last ounce of energy to get to where you want to be. God wants us to strive to be better, our best. I choose to accept these challenges...how about you?"

I don't tend to like thinking about goals. For some reason my sinful nature reacts in opposition and I end up failing faster because I am focused on a goal. I seem to do better if I keep a direction in mind.

With that clarification, those words "bettering yourself" made me reconsider my present state.

I prayed for an occupation. I thought I would be a better person if I were kept busy. God gave me a job. Like, a big one.

I thought I should move out. I thought it would be good for my personal maturation. God dropped a rooming situation into my lap a year before I thought it would be available. So now I'm trying living independently.

I've been settling down into my house, trudging on in my classroom, and basically treading water.

Time to move forward in that whole "bettering" myself thing. I don't know if I'll get married. But I can't stay immature forever. I must push on to be the kind of person I want to be, who God wants me to become.

Whether or not I actively pursue goals, I don't want to not move forward and find myself sinking in mire and end up in this state-of-hopelessness with Israel:

"But you said, 'There is no hope. No! For I have loved aliens, and after them I will go.'" (Jeremiah 2:25) "And they said, 'That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.'" (Jeremiah 18:12)

trust distraction (ix)

"God loves an uttermost confidence in Himself-- to be wholly trusted. This is the sublimest of all the characteristics of a true Christian--the basis of all character."
-Henry Van Dyke
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us form your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (Daniel 2:16-18)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

64: one-hundred percent

When you are passionate about something, it is easy to drift out of the realm of moderation. It is easy to so over emphasize that good that you seem to take away weight from equal or greater goods.

I am passionate about marriage. I'm not sure why I am passionate about marriage. But I do know that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). And I know that homosexuality is a vile passion that is against nature (Romans 1:26). I know that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed undefiled. But I know that fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:1). I know that marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). And I know that God said it wasn't good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). Finally, I know that "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22).

So although I may sometimes sound of balance, and sometimes I need people to say, stop, wait, don't forget the overarching truth that God is our all in all and that you are complete in Him (and it is most definitely true that He is enough), I also know that, when taken in conjunction with every other truth in God's Word, God's design of one man, one woman for life is still worthy of being valued and upheld.

And that is why I think it is okay to quote Crawford Loritts' somewhat radical statement on a recent Family Life Today broadcast:
"God created Adam with an unmet need. Adam was alone. And, by the way, this is prior to the fall--obvious observation. So, neediness is not a sinful disposition. Neediness is not something that came along later on, because we were sinfully inclined, and it's part of the fall. No, God created--and this is a profound statement--prior to the fall of man, God created, in all of us, an unmet need. To be needy in this regard is extraordinarily healthy."
Put this quote in the balance with the revelation of God's sufficiency in your life. Uphold both truths 100 percent.

Monday, November 11, 2013

63: ashes

There is hope.

I imagine a city in ashes, spires blackened with fire, a gray hue coloring the whole, the sky devoid of color because of the ruin.

And yet that is only one city.

One empire.

One section of one person's history. The Truth is marching on.

The Way is still the Way. The Truth is still the Truth. And Life, the Life and Light of all mankind, is still there like three suns (or one, if you're not into sci-fi) shining bright, unable to be extinguished because of some earthly blaze.

Ashes...simply remainders, chaff-like flecks of reminders that what was there before did not need to last for ultimate Reality to continue.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

62: a long post about moving out

Well, I had mentally closed down this blog. Christian Mingle account expired, eHarmony account a month out from expiring, 'bout worn out the topic, time to give it a rest.

But sometimes blogging is not about being heard but about being written.

I'm moving out! I'm two years til 30 and a very convenient stepping stone has opened up quite suddenly where I can move in with a couple girls from church, still live in town, still have my parents care for my dog while I'm at work, and still get to move into a house, not just a room somewhere.

I sit here on my unvacummed carpet in my cluttered room. This room has been mine for 28 years. And now I'm leaving it.

Well, somewhat. Am I really moving out, or am I just residing somewhere else temporarily?

I find as I sit here half lesson planning and half playing Candy Crush (because I am overwhelmed with school right now and so my solution is to waste time?) that I have not thought of this move as permanent. In fact, I am thinking of it as very temporary.

Actually, my time at this house may be very short as the other occupants have future plans bearing down on them and once we are all cycled through the owners are going to sell.

So will I move back home when that happens? Or is this a springboard for permanently moving out?

Another friend of mine moved out, settled down, and then due to job changes, had to move back home.

Will that be me?

Because as I sit here not quite realizing that I really will be moving OUT, out, out, I'm considering that I might do tutoring again next year, which will result in a pay cut (from full-time teaching), and I think, but no, now that I won't be living at home, I actually will have bills to pay and will need a good job, and I remember that that is why I'm doing this, not for convenience or fun, but to take the next step toward adulthood before I'm 30, and that step includes the perpetual stress all adults acquire of paying rent/mortgage.

I mentioned the other day my prayer that, God, if this is Your will, You're going to have to provide. My mom's response was, well, no, He doesn't have to.

I suppose His will could be sending me back home or to a smaller place.

As it is, I'm going to trust that, yes, if this is His will, He will provide.

Then there's the whole thought that this is temporary because I'm not quite ready to think of myself as a 30+ single adult living on my own minus that permanent life partner.

I'm becoming more content with the idea, but it's a contentment that carries with it inner turmoil of longing. So, contentment? Hardly. Realization that I have done it this long and that I'm not alone if I have God. Yes, perhaps. Spurts of begging God that I won't be alone in my old age? Yes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

61: morose but praising Him

I was looking over the last ten posts or so. This blog is kinda morose, isn't it? My thought amid the moroseness is that not many people write just about the struggles, and I always find it comforting hearing about others going through the same things. Misery loves company and all that. Though, when I'm upbeat, I am not interested in hearing about the valleys. So if you're feeling good about being single, don't read my blog. :-P I don't want to pull you down! But if you are going through a hard day or week, take comfort that you're not the only one in this season.


18 years old: I want to get married asap.
20 years old: Why is this not happening?
21 years old: This isn't happening.
25 years old: My dreams of marrying young are dying.
26 years old: My dreams of marrying young have died.
27 years old: I hope to get married before 30.
28 years old: I've been waiting a decade. Hm.


In thinking about that this weekend, I remembered that I have proved God's faithfulness. Not God's faithfulness to bring my dreams (and His design) to realization. But His faithfulness to walk with me and uphold me.

It's true. I had a relationship with the Lord when I was 18, and it was strong. But now my relationship with the Lord is more mature.

And in another 10 years, whether married or not, I hope that it will be increasingly more mature.

Just like they say the love of a couple married for 50 years is exponentially stronger than that of the first year.

And isn't that closer to what life is truly about anyway?

Friday, September 6, 2013

60: we all have our crazy stories--these are just mine

I got a smile from a 50 yr old, asking me if he could take me to dinner.

After blocking him, I decided to look at his profile because the first line interested me. It read

If you are older than me or Aferican american (a black woman), I am NOT INTRESTED, As I really perfer younger woman the younger the better

In his profile he also mentioned that he's been at the same job for 27 years. Considering I just turned 28, I think it rather ironic that men his age would try to attract a woman who has only been alive as long as they've been at their job.

I got a message from a 41 year old with the subject title being "Hello Missy." I cracked up! Because how can you take an older man seriously in a romantic sense when he starts it off saying "hello, missy!" :-P

He then called me pulchritudinous. Which I had to look up.

I got another message from a fellow my age (yay!) who used "cheese and rice" in the way Josephine March used "Christopher Columbus!" or I might say, "For goodness' sake." Cheese and rice??? What on earth? Oh wait.

(Say it out loud and you might get it like I finally did.)

My subscription for ChristianMingle ends in 9 days. I don't plan on renewing. But I am waiting to hear back from one fellow. He's the one I paid the subscription for and then didn't hear from for some two months. Now we've exchanged a couple e-mails, but I'm wondering if that'll all die with the end of my subscription.

Ah well. The ebb and flow of life.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

59: believing what you believe

I know God has put me at this school as a 3-grades combo teacher. Some days I want to really complain. Some days I really want to say "I CAN'T do this." But, I swallow the emotions in spite of myself because I know that this is where God has me. And ya can't really argue with that.

I know the fact that this whole online dating thing hasn't produced any "results" is okay, and God's got charge. Recently I was even thinking of writing a post about one area (among others) where I just realized I have major relationship issues and that maybe it's a good thing God hasn't given me a relationship in the last year or so!

But then an uber-quiet fellow I know told me he found success on a dating site after only 3 months and is going strong with a girl.

"You?" he asked me.


I tried not to internalize the passing thought of "So what's the matter with you?" After all, this shy, unsociable fellow has a girlfriend, so...what's the matter with me?

I found myself coming home, getting online, and looking to see if there were any guys I hadn't been particularly attracted to that I could now send a reply to, casting my bread upon the waters, just so I could have a better chance of success.

(No luck.)

Anyways, I have to reel myself back in, speak the truth to myself that, no, this is where God has me. No rush. No pressure. No asking why not me.

In other words, sometimes ya gotta push the emotions aside and just believe what you believe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

58: of girl friends and hidden, long-held dreams

Girl friends are amazing, aren't they? My birthday was last weekend, the first week of school just ended, and I have been surrounded by quality, loving girl friends, and I thank God so much for them. I used to be a rather lonely girl. And sometimes I still have bouts of loneliness, like when I'm hormonal and it's late at night and everyone in the house is busy or gone to bed and I'm left alone with my neglectful dog (she's only neglectful when she wishes me to turn off the light and go to sleep like her). But now God has brought me into a season of bounty. I don't have just one friend far off. And I don't have to say that all my friends are on Facebook, like I did tell someone, quite seriously, rather emotionally, one eve several months ago. God has given me friends right here, local friends. Who doesn't pine for local friends? They might move away or move on sometime in the near future, I don't know, but I have them now, they are a blessing from God, and I'm thankful, so thankful.


Meanwhile, I want to blog for a second about the dream.

I've held onto the dream so long that lately I've wondered if I'm really ready for it to become reality.

I suppose I've thought that thought often throughout the years, but the farther into my lifespan I get, the looser I have to hold onto the dream out of necessity. I have to hold it with one hand while swimming forward into other channels with the other. And sometimes I have to use the hand clasped over the dream to swim too so that I am propelling forward with my "career," fully enjoying the current, knowing I'm in the middle of God's will, as they say, and yet my dream is right there with me, part of me as I go this way and that. But it's hidden inside my palm, stubby fingers wrapped over it. Like Tinker Bell almost, clasped inside so you can't see the light and glitter.

I start to wonder if I opened my hand, if the dream became reality, if it would be light and glitter. Or if the dream has lost all its glow because of the delay, because of the exposure to other elements, other joys, other dreams.

When God opens my hand and lets the dream out into bright of day, will I really be ready to enter that season of life? Will I find marriage and homeschooling all that I ever wanted? Will my new desires and pleasures--found out of the necessity to live with hope deferred--keep me from fully entering in and appreciating what I thought I always wanted?

I say this is all I've ever wanted to be, wife and mother.

Is it still?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

57: in the midst of busyness

I'm a teacher, and the year starts Monday. A week and a half ago, all the teachers returned to the small Christian school in the middle of nowhere. I was so busy getting my room ready, going to meetings, and juggling a million ideas, that I thought, "A guy? What do I need a guy for? I'm so busy!" And enjoying it too.

Then this last week, maybe Tuesday, I found out that instead of teaching a combo class of 2nd and 3rd graders, I'll also be doing the majority of teaching for 4th grade as well.

I think my world must have tilted a little on its axis.

Despite knowing that this is where God wants me and that He's with me, and I could write a whole post about that, my stress level has gone through the roof the last few days. This last year since I first taught in a classroom, I've largely avoided that miserable sensation that makes you wake up in the morning already overwhelmed. I didn't miss it.

Although my busyness and mental preoccupation has increased ten-fold, I've found myself in the evening hours being struck by a strange acute loneliness. Brief, but strong.

The first couple weeks before school starts has got to be a time of deprivation for fellows who are dating/married to teachers. We obsess out of necessity, because if we didn't, it wouldn't get done.

But even though I wouldn't be able to spend any time with a fellow if I had one right now, and even though he would be a distraction, and maybe that would even add to my stress, I sure wouldn't mind having a husband to lean on emotionally when I want to cry and say I can't do this. I can't teach three grades at once, even though I've been blessed with an aide.

It is not good for man to be alone. I will make an helpmeet fit for him.

I'm leaning on God, and He is holding me up.

Monday, August 5, 2013

56: I wish I knew you blues

How do you describe an emotional rollercoaster? Turmoil, elation, hope, deflation.

After several days of things-are-looking-up, tonight I'm thinking...

...I don't know.

...Why can't I just meet "the one" and everything fall into place?

...Why can't this be a lot easier?

...At least I have the excitement of school to fall back on.

...At least God has given me school to focus on.

...God is always there. He's what gives my life meaning.


Y'know how it is.

Insight into myself: I fear the process between unattached singleness and marriage because I have not yet learned how to do the slight commitment but not full comitment, work through things for this relationship but still have a backdoor to jump at any time because it's just temporary, maybe, don't look at other guys because you're in a relationship, do be open to other guys because you're not married yet, relationship maze that so many people pull off and hopefully I will one day too but for now it seems awfully confusing.

Why do I write?
Because I like to. :-P
And hopefully someone out there sometime
will come across something here that speaks to her
and encourages her
that she's not the only one.
And maybe she'll learn more about herself
by hearing about this portion of my journey.

55: the relative (un)importance of physical beauty

Last night at church the speaker referenced Isaiah 53:2
“He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Last Sunday night another speaker talked a little about Paul, the description of him being a short, hunched over man with a hooked nose. Not the most compelling of physical descriptions. Is it possible that Jesus was also less than physically appealing?

When I imagine Jesus (or my future husband, for that matter), I don’t imagine a certain look. I don’t picture his face or his build or his hair color or its length. But I do imagine a certain level of attractiveness. I expect a Hollywood Jesus. Hollywood doesn’t cast unattractive people as their heroes/heroines, and we wouldn’t want them to. We like to look at pretty people. We’re attracted to attractive people.

What if Jesus was not necessarily an attractive person? Is it possible?

What if he had the look of a nerd? What if he had a comb over? What if he pushed up his glasses when he spoke? What if he walked funny?

Maybe He didn’t. But is it possible that, even though Jesus was morally and spiritually perfect, He lived in a sin-riddled physical body that had “no form or comeliness?” And if Jesus had no beauty that we should desire Him, and yet we embrace Him as our love and life, is it possible that my future husband could be less than a handsome physical specimen and yet be a perfectly acceptable, even desirable, lover and life-mate as well?

The thought being, would I have accepted Jesus for His inward qualities despite His physical appearance? And if I accept Jesus, would I accept a human despite his physical appearance?

But I also know that God created us to be attracted to whomever we marry, not repelled.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

54: the spark that will never turn to flame

You two aren't dating, aren't interested in dating, aren't going there.

And yet.

If you could be interested, you would be interested, but since other factors prevent you from ever seeing a profitable future together, you aren't interested.

But you like to treat the friendship as if there was a spark there.

Because there is.

But there isn't.

Because it can't go anywhere.

You feel the freedom of "it can't go anywhere" and are much freer in your attentions to him than if the danger of dating were around the corner.

It's just the way it works. If you are interested in a guy, but good sense and reason tell you "no," then you treat him unlike any other guy you know. You enjoy him on a level you don't enjoy others. You assume a level of closeness that you never take time to develop. So you can tease him without really knowing him. All because there is that unacknowledged spark.

Oh, and if he likes someone else, you tease him. Tease him a lot. And support the relationship even if a twinge of the green-eyed monster lurks behind.

No moral. Just observation.

Friday, August 2, 2013

FMF "Story"

This is my story
This is my song

Lord, I want to acknowledge that You are my story. I am not always faithful in our relationship. Sometimes I choose to watch Monk or Doctor Who when I hear you calling. Sometimes I "plan" on spending time with you but then this leads to that and I go to bed, leaving you with an apology.

But You have proved Yourself to always be faithful. You have walked with me for over two decades. I would not be who I am without You. You are my best friend when no one else is around. You are the presence that speaks to me when I'm grappling with something on my own.

You are the one who brings me from there to here. You have amazed me with how You have sanctified me this last year without my help. Without my help! You work. You reveal Your words to me.

You are my story. And you are showing me more how no matter what happens, no matter if I get a guy or don't get a guy, or get a guy and then lose the guy, that You will still be the constant in my life, so it's okay.

Come drought or high water . . . prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, so here's my heart, Lord, take and keep it . . . You are my story and song.

Joining up with Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday crowd here.

Feel free to check out my other posts--all about my experiences with online dating! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

53: why a dtr can feel like a breakup (no answers)

He suggested meeting in person . . .

And (after God moved him) I told him I wasn't interested in him romantically.

It went really well, this crash-landing DTR. He was very sensible and kind. But I scratched my head while simultaneously pounding it against the wall because, to me, it felt like a breakup.

I felt like we broke up.

I felt like there was a void to fill.

I felt like I had lost a friend.

"And yes," I wrote in my journal, "I think I'm in the .005% of girls in the world who feel like a DTR = a breakup."

All we did was clarify the acquaintanceship, the temporary friendship. To me, I had rejected a guy.

Just being vulnerable here.

Am I that incapable of enduring emotional discomfort?

I don't think it has anything to do with my level of emotional involvement. Rather, I think it is connected with how much I view that fellow as an individual. If he's someone I've never exchanged a conversation with, *snort*, not interested, dude. But if he's anything from someone I've talked with a little but for whom I'm just am not feelin' it at all to someone I've talked with a lot and I'm thinking it won't go anywhere, it's tougher.

I'd like to say I just have a compassionate spirit. But I don't think that's what it is. Lord?

Maybe *lightbulb moment* I'm too much of a people pleaser.

Still figuring myself out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

52: asking God to move the guy

I'm a Boundless girl, which means I think in terms of DTR.

DTR: an abbreviation for "define the relationship;" what all relationships must have lest they stay forever in the buddy phase.

Buddy Phase: when you are in a dating-like friendship with a guy who is not interested in taking the relationship forward, thereby stunting your own journey towards marriage because you are unwilling to give up having a guy in your life

Anyway, I mentioned in a previous post that I was waiting for a DTR from a certain guy online. I wanted to either hear from him if he thought this acquaintanceship could go anywhere, or have him propose us meeting in person (since another fellow from only a couple hours away had e-mailed me for three months on eHarmony and we never met--wasn't going to do that again!). Of course, what I didn't realize when I was thinking all this was that we'd only been e-mailing for two weeks! :-P Yeah, maybe a little early for a DTR.

I wrote the following in my journal

Sent query to Boundless about what to do when you spent 3 months e-mailing a guy you met on a Christian dating site and after 3 months you never met and he didn't even try to meet you til you hinted and now you've been e-mailing another guy for 2 weeks and want to either meet or find out if the acquaintanceship is going anywhere (DTR-define the relationship-b/c I don't mind staying just friends if I know) but don't know how to encourage such without being forward, scaring him, or taking away his initiative but don't want to still be chumming it months down the road.

Determined to pray that God would move him so I wouldn't have to say anything with dual benefit of seeing if he listens to God's voice. Estimated waiting time: one week.

So I put it in God's all-powerful hands--not the first thing an anxious girl that wants to know thinks of--and you know what? God answered immediately! The fellow IMed that same day, which, in dating site land, or at least to me, was taking it one step forward (real time convo vs. e-mailing). Then awhile later he suggested meeting in person. And then . . .

I'll save that for another post. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

51: I don't like surprises

A fellow I've gotten to know as a friend on ChristianMingle said something profound the other day. I was telling him how I'm terrified of the process of getting from unattached singleness to marriage. I was telling him how I don't like the part of dating where you have a picture in your head of who someone is, but you don't know when you're going to find out something about them that will change your whole perception and the person will pop out of the box you've put them in. I said extra info confuses me, muddies the waters.

He said that it makes the picture clearer.

Surprises about the person you're interested in, learning more about their past, finding out about secret, unplanned idiosyncrasies--they make the picture clearer.

That's a good thing.

I want to remember that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

50: on saying no

Fellows (my age) have sent me messages, and I've declined to reply. One time I even responded and told him I didn't think it would work out. But these were people I hadn't interacted with, and it was in an e-mail format. Very easy to say no and move on.

I just had to tell someone no via instant messenger, and that was harder.

Because he seemed to be a good guy. Really. But I just wasn't interested.

Maybe it was his pictures (reminiscent of the main character--a creep--in the BBC made-for-TV movie He Knew He Was Right). Maybe it was because I could tell his personality was milder than I prefer. Maybe it was because he was Reformed, and I'm not (ask the people in my church who are!). Actually, it was all of the above.

We had talked once before on instant messenger, which is when I discovered he was Reformed. We had a good conversation, and I found out he knew people I knew from when he debated for a year. By the end of the conversation, even though I had given him a chance, I knew I wasn't interested.

Tonight he IMed me again. Sometime soon, I was going to have to let him know, and I hoped he wouldn't force my hand, but I had a hunch he would.

The moment came when he asked if I wanted to continue the conversation on e-mail. I conveniently ignored it.

Then, at the end of the conversation, he asked again. I made an excuse. He countered. I had to tell him that I understood what he meant, but thanks, no.

We said goodbye.


I'm sure some of you are going what? you don't even know the guy, no biggie!


It's still hard for me to send that message of rejection.

Ah well, it's over now.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

49: people watching, the fun of dating sites

You should try online dating if for no other reason than reading other people's profiles. Just kidding! But it is rather a from-home way of going to the mall to people watch.

Hot Squeeze didn't include a picture because he thought it would be best if you saw him in person. He's larger than life!

Weekly attender of a well-known, solid church answered "To me, being a Christian means..." "Be true"

What I really can't understand is why I got a "smile" from a 45 year old after changing my profile to read, "If you are 40+, please don't click on my profile."

Getting profile views from 18 year olds is just as wrong as getting them from 49 year olds.

The introductory words of an older man with a creepy, blue-tinted photo were I'm a serious person and I believe in the Apocalypse.

On the humorous side, one guy starts his profile with, "Describe myself? Well...I'm insecure , lack confidence, still live with mom and dad, and unemployed. Still interested? If your answer is yes...get help!"

One guy didn't know what to write, so he put random facts about himself, like, "I used to be fat... and yes I have the pictures to prove it!"

What about this one? "I am VERY conservative; 100% pro-life; and passionate about adoption, being an advocate for orphans, as well as home-schooling. Also, I'm a firm believer in the Second Amendment. =)"

First reaction, haha!
Second reaction, advocate for orphans...wait, really?
Third reaction, there's hope!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

48: practically speaking

This evening I hit a glitch in my latest online dating e-mail relationship. But, in some way I was glad because it gave me an opportunity (like I should need one?) of throwing myself back on God.

After my initial dread that I might have to tell the guy that this isn't going anywhere (which I think is perhaps my #1 relationship fear), my second thought was "Am I ever going to be able to find someone?"

I think sometimes I (and maybe those like me) put too much stock in the guy as being all in all. So that it isn't practical any more or more laid back, but ultra serious.

I'm trying to adjust my thinking so that I don't need to find Mr. Perfect but someone who will . . . fill the hole God created for a physical man to fill in my life. (Is it possible to have a hole that God designed for someone other than Himself to normally fill?)

My need is God, and I can live single. Every day I live in relationship with the One who has walked with me every day of my life, who has proven Himself faithful, who has not forgotten me in His work as matchmaker. I constantly need to put my trust back in Him. He is my all in all, He is my forever friend, I can live single (Did I really just say that? Who are you and what did you do with me?).

But, back to the practical side, God designed marriage, which isn't designed to be between me and an invisible, infinite being. It's just not. At least, not while I'm on earth. How God designed it, you've got to have a lovely girl and a loving man. And it becomes something beautiful that God smiles on.

God isn't threatened by marriage or physical affection or boy/girl love. That's HIS creation, His invention, how He made us. It wasn't even like a side institution. He actually made us to fit together like a puzzle. Because He wanted us to find each other and fit together like a puzzle, in His image.

So I don't have to either think a-guy-is-my-all-in-all or swing over to the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend side of the pendulum. It is okay for me to practically just want an in-the-flesh guy. Whether God provides that or not is up to Him.

(I guess this is my 8 months later response to what I wrote last September.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

47: battle of the opinions

He asks you to clarify an opinion you expressed on your profile. You explain, trying to strike the balance between firmness and liberality, since you don't know where he's coming from. He very generously understands where you're coming from and has no counter arguments! You ask him about something he said. He explains. You're pleased with his explanation. You continue to share opinions on various topics and are amazed at how well he expresses himself and how similar your viewpoints are.

And then you drop The Big One. The topic you have a feeling you will disagree on.

And you're right.

He writes out his full apologetic. You reply back with your full contrary apologetic.

When did getting to know someone also become a simultaneous battle of the opinions, a precarious dance to see if the two of you can agree on all things important/semi-important?

It's always been that way with me. I've always put a lot of stock in what my maybe-future-partner believes.

And the more I see someone as a "possibility," the more nervous I get about finding a topic where we disagree. I veer off more from getting to know the person and become a little more aggressive in arguing my opinions.

Then I start wondering if he's going to be turned off by an argumentative woman.

No moral to the story. Just one step in my journey through online "dating."

Monday, July 8, 2013

46: circumstances don't matter

Driving to and from the grocery store for an emergency run for mayonnaise (yes, there is actually such a thing as a mayo emergency!), I heard parts of today's Focus on the Family radio broadcast. Wow. From the slurred voice, I could immediately tell he was handicapped. He was talking about contentment. And how the Bible says he is fearfully and wonderfully made. He said people say he's a nobody, but he was bought by the blood of the Lamb.

It's another penetrating reminder that there is no good reason for discontentment when one is a child of God.

Here the whole broadcast here (Living Joyously Part 1 with David Ring).

Friday, July 5, 2013

FMF: Beautiful

Linking up with Five Minute Friday. Topic: Beautiful.

Tonight I went to a dinner for the staff and some board members of the school I'll be teaching at come August. By the end of the evening, driving home, I was so overwhelmed about next year. I'm a good tutor. I have a LOT to learn, but I do think I'm good at it. But in a classroom there is so much to remember to teach them, so much they have to master. How can I possibly multi-task 7 subjects, 2 grades, countless little things (like months of the year or public speaking) plus classroom management?

Lord God, I am overwhelmed, sobered. How can I be on top of it? Really, this is only my second year of teaching in a classroom (not consecutively). I think how much I've grown, what a better job I'll do. In reality, I haven't mastered classroom teaching. I'm going to give it my best shot, but I don't know what I'm doing. Help me, Lord!

What is beautiful is that the God of the Universe cares, hears, and will answer.

45: dinosaurs (no, really)

I believe in dinosaurs.

I even believe that dinosaurs were on the earth at the same time as humans.

I believe in a world wide flood that left fossils on the top of mountains.

I believe that Job was describing dinosaurs when he talks about Behemoth and Leviathan.

The topic of dinosaurs keeps popping up lately! I bought a really interesting, easy reptile book the other week. The first couple pages cover the tyrannosaurus, brontosaurus, etc. Then the last page, talking about the Komodo Dragon says,

"As he flicks his yellow tongue, he looks like the dragon of fairy tales and legends.

We know there are no real dragons.

And no one ever saw a live dinosaur."

I almost felt like I was being brainwashed. Like, "Now make sure children, you understand, no one every saw a live dinosaur. Understand? There are no such thing as real dragons. Okay?" *waits for heads to nod* "Good!"

What I want to know is, how did ancient peoples know about dinosaurs in order to carve "imaginative" rock drawings of themselves with dinosaurs if they had never seen one before? If they had never seen a dinosaur because they had died out millions of years earlier, how did they know what they looked like in order to draw them?

How could there be legends of dragons throughout history if before archeology no one had ever encountered dragon-like beings? It's not like there was some scribe prehistorically that recorded all his observations for future generations.

It's been rather funny lately at tutoring. I'm not sure how he started talking about dinosaurs. But I've been learning a lot. Dinosaurs were never on the earth with people. How do you know? Because they all died out. How? In that big meteorite that killed all of them and then volcanos erupted. (My mind was trying to wrap around how a big meteorite could reach all the dinosaurs all over the earth and yet not destroy everything else on the earth.) What about the other animals? The other animals got away. How did they know the meteorite was coming and the dinosaurs didn't? Their leaders led them away.

I dropped it after that.

Call me a brainwashed Creationist, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

But since they watched a movie about it in school, I'm sure my little fellow will grow up believing the meteorite dinosaur theory as fact. It'll be ingrained as much as two plus two equaling four.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

complaint distraction (viii)

"[H]ere is the difference between a holy complaint and a discontented complaint; in the one we complain to God, in the other we complain of God." -Thomas Watson, quoted in Carolyn McCulley's, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

Do we trust Him?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

44: happily ever after

I'll admit it, I'm a Facebooker. I remember for the first assignment in Short Story Writing we had to write a humorous anecdote for Reader's Digest. I had no idea how to do that and flopped pretty badly.

Now my favorite activity is writing humorous-to-me Facebook statuses! (still not Reader's Digest worthy)
Do you ever wonder how things like centipedes make it into your bedroom? I do. What do they do, come in the front door, race on their hundred legs down the hallway, and beeline towards me? I don't get it. Ah, the wonders of life!
One oft forgets what clothes one truly has until forced to launder them by dint of busting-at-the-seams hamper. Whereupon a week of I-have-nothing-to-wear is regenerated into Cute-Cute-Cute.
Yes, painting my toenails currently trumps cleaning my disaster-stricken room for the simple reason that I cannot possibly forget to clean my room whereas I will very probably forget to paint my toenails.

Last month I did a first. I used the very annoying "Like this status" tagline:
Like this status if you're living your own "happily ever after" (ie. if you're happily married--boyfriends NOT allowed).

Now the purpose was to be encouraged by those who can validate by experience that God's design of marriage continues to be good. And so I didn't want singles to respond because that would defeat my purpose. I added in the comments section:
(and yes, I acknowledge well that you can be happy and single, but let us not redefine the phrase "happily ever after" like the homosexual activists want to redefine "marriage").

Because, I know that some content singles just will not be left out of "happily ever after," even if that phrase has traditionally referred to marriage exclusively.

Such a pushing in is reminiscent of those feminists who insisted on being on equal footing with men because they were not happy in their distinct and different roles.

But being happy as a single doesn't mean we have to experience the same kind of happy as a married.

I think it's reminiscent of homosexual activists who want to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

We don't have to redefine "happily ever after" to include us. Shouldn't a content single be completely confident in who she is in her unattached state, and even in her "marriage to God," so that she doesn't have to steal from the the distinct glory of God's design of marriage?

I share opinions like this because God's design is worthy of being exalted and lifted up as good, regardless of whether or not I ever experience it.

Friday, June 28, 2013

FMF: In Between

Linking up with Lisa-Jo's amazing Five Minute Friday!

Across Bloggerspace Topic: In Between

I broke the rules and wrote considerably longer than 5 minutes.

So I had decided what I was going to talk about for "In Between," ie. the first and only topic that came to mind.

I was going to share how by either my experience at a friend's wedding recently or by God answering my prayer to "either make me okay with being single right now or give me a husband," I think I might *cross fingers, knock on wood,* be at a place where I'm content. Gasp! I'm sorry, but that word, that word. It's the trophy earned by those spiritual girls out there who are busy teaching violin or taking photographs (no, I'm not singling out you, dear friend, truly!) and don't seem to mind that they are semi-permanently single (like so many other girls our age). Unlike those of us who are not living blissfully purpose-filled lives and go through a sighing/moaning phase every couple weeks or so.

But, I think I MAY have reached a rather pleasant in between phase. Not quite in the "give me a husband lest I die" phase anymore (ok, that was an exaggeration. I hope no guys read this) and not yet at Happily Ever After. And I'm thankful. Because even though "contentment" scares me -- I have this thought that once you give up the desire, you will never have a chance of gaining the said-desire -- it feels good to have a bit of the inner turmoil settle.

So that was longer than 5 minutes and now I want to go on for another 7 minutes talking about another, perhaps more real-to-me in between I'm experiencing.

You've taken the plunge. You've joined an online dating site.

Problem is (or not a problem?), you've always taken relationships very seriously. I mean, you've been looking at this guy for what? over six months before you decide to respond. And then you're like, I'm talking to a guy! I'm talking to a guy! on the inside.

After a couple of these, you decide that there's got to be a less emotional way of going about this.

So you sit back and try to be as casual as you can.

And then, craziness strikes. You decide to be the first to send a guy a message. But, not being a forward girl, you have no intention of it going anywhere, rather, he told a story on his profile, obviously looking for a reaction, and you send him a one-liner with a reaction. Courtesy. I like to know what people think of my profile too. You don't even consider it taking initiative at all. You would do the same thing in real life. Casual, remember?

And then from that little one-liner, he and you begin writing back and forth. But it's all cool. Because it's purely cordial. Making conversation as you would if you met someone at a get together in person.

And that goes on for awhile. Until...

You reach the "in between" phase.

Rather, I have.

See, we've kinda gotten past the plausibility of just making conversation out of curiosity about people in general. I mean, really, that can only be believable for so long when you meet on a dating site. But I really want to think that we're not scoping each other out, interrogating each other. I like to think that I'm not raising hopes and that we can build a friendship.

So I'm in between cordial conversation out of curiosity about people in general and something more. And this in between phase I don't like. Because it's a foggy place.

But, making the best out of an undefined aquaintanceship, I'm trying to just relax and enjoy myself.

P.S. I tried to upload some pics to break up the monotony, but to no avail.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FMF: Rhythm

Joining up with the Five Minute Friday crowd over at Lisa-Jo's wonderful blog. We're all writing about the same word: Rhythm.

I am lost when I'm not at home in my daily routine.

I don't mean when I'm visiting friends or on vacation. Rather, I'm lost when I'm dog sitting, on my own, at someone else's house, and ESPECIALLY when I have a day off from work.

I just do better when my life has a rhythm.

Funnily enough I can't stand when people put me on a schedule. And I am incapable of keeping to any schedule I put on myself. (rebellion?)

But I do better when I'm in a college setting or when I'm working full time and I have to be busy. I'm not self-motivated, but I do just fine when I have to do stuff.

I will do just as much as I need to do. Goodness, that's a bad character trait.

So come two months I will be a classroom teacher again. All year I've been off and on praying for purpose in my life. Ie. if I have free time, I waste it. That's part of why I want to be a wife and mother. Have you seen homeschool moms? They don't have time to waste. I want to live a life full of purposeful activity. But if I'm given a clean slate, an empty schedule? You don't even want to know.

I'm looking forward to teaching again. For one thing, I love everything that goes into getting ready for the school year. And for another, I know that at least from 8 in the morning til 3:30 in the afternoon I will be busy and productive.

Rhythm. You didn't want to know all this and I didn't take the time to make it sound frilly or philosophical, but that's what Five Minute Fridays are about. Just writing.

By the by, I highly recommend going over to Lisa-Jo's link up and just reading others' blogs. It's inspiring, encouraging, and easy, because everyone only writes for about 5 minutes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

43: practicing life

Sometimes I surprise myself.

Sometimes I embarrass myself.

Sometimes I disappoint myself.

I don't know about you, but I can think pretty highly of myself. Especially when there's no experience to base my opinions on. I'm not going to do THAT. I know how to handle that SO much better! I've already conquered THAT sin.

And then there's times when I wonder.

I've been keeping Lisa-Jo's post "When Your Temper Scares You--Some Suggestions for Defusing" in my inbox because, in a moment of fearful honesty, I thought I might need to read it.

It's kinda scary to think how my latent temper might flare when I have kids.

Actually, it's really scary. Because I don't know how it will show itself.

Reading her blog post reminds me that everyone is sorta in the same boat. We're all practicing life. We're learning as we go. We all make mistakes, shocking, embarrassing, disappointing mistakes.

And damaging. And crawl-into-a-hole-and-die before I hurt anyone else mistakes. And take-me-now because I am such a sinner mistakes.

But God doesn't take us, and we don't crawl into a hole. We're not allowed to give up on practicing at this very real thing called life.

Lisa-Jo wrote:
I won’t carry the baggage of yesterday’s explosion or last week’s near melt down into tomorrow. I will practice grace on purpose.
I want to pray, Lord, don't let me need grace!

And then I want to cling to the hope that I am not the only one who does or will mess up and that a cloud of witnesses are likewise clinging to Him and His grace.

Now to figure out how to extend that grace to others....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

42: it's not fair

I don't think it's fair for kids to hear their parents fight.

I don't think it's fair that the young women who always dreamed of nothing else but getting married and having a family are the ones who are not doing so and the ones who wanted a career are the ones that are.

I don't think it's fair when a person has a wonderful life and then one event alters it forever.

But . . . life isn't about fairness, is it?

And life isn't about everything being perfect or about me deserving everything to be perfect.

I can say that we live in a messy world and that's just how it is. But when the trite saying hits a little too close to home. Ouch! THAT'S NOT FAIR!

And then I take it out on God and rail against His sovereignty. Like a prisoner shaking the bars, demanding answers.

Ok, step back, Michelle.

Do you believe? Do you trust?

It's not about your little perfect world. It's not about ideal circumstances.

You've been saying He's your Rock no matter what.

And now, when things don't go according to your standard of fairness, will you give up on the idea that God is sovereign? That He is above all this turmoil? That you have to transcend this messiness down here and put your faith in the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God?

Go back to your idealism, Michelle. Not the idealism of perfect fairness, because, really, it just hurts to demand everything be fair. "Fairness" is like a knife; you use it to hurt yourself and you use it to demand answers from the grand silence.

Go back to what you believe. That it's not about you. It's about God. And God is good. And He has proven Himself over and over throughout many generations.

Now go and act on your belief. Remember your beliefs.

Civil War reenactment

Saturday, June 15, 2013

41: letting go

Piles of books on my bed. Books to get rid of. Books to extricate myself from because they are becoming a burden instead of only a delight.

I love books, love to collect books, LOVE to shop for great deals. (25 cents? How can I say "no"!)

The other night at three in the morning God showed me that it's not just the space of three bookshelves in a rather small bedroom that is making me feel claustrophobic but the spiritual weighing down of incoming materialism. For example, could I get rid of all these if God called me to a foreign mission field? No.

So I got out the chopping block, hoping for God's strength to cut off that which I love and value and have emotional connections to.

I remember how my mom bought me that beautifully vellum-covered book, and it ended up not being a very good biography of Amy Carmichael, but I've been trying to give it a second chance for, oh, maybe 10 years.

I've idolized The White House Cookbook for a similar amount of time, guarding its gold leafed pages from abuse while not using it.

I have a lot of pride of pride of possession and noticed that I base most of my collection on someday/one day/what if.

What if one day I finally become a history teacher?

One day I'll be married.

Some day I'll want to read these Agatha Christie's even though right now I'd rather watch the BBC movie versions.

I need these Dickens books because they are a good addition to my library (even if I don't enjoy reading Dickens).

Won't my husband be impressed when he sees I own a book arguing against pacifism?

Via my library, I've built up city walls around me of my supposed wide-variety of interests. As I tore them down, I redefined myself and felt a bit like a blob. I'm not interested enough to read that? Or that? Or that?

But what about these Ravi Zacharias apologetic books? Am I going to get rid of all apologetic books and make myself look like a heathen who doesn't care?

To get rid of good history textbooks on the sheer acknowledgement that I will never be motivated again to read over 300 pages of size 8 font, even though the info is valuable?

I just don't need them right now.

The reality is that I'm not a mother or an apologist or a historian or even a "great reader."

So many good books. And I had to say "no."

God gave me grace. I sold/donated almost two shelves worth yesterday at a sale. And I still have how many shelves full of books? One purge at a time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

40: what a coinkadink!

One of those one in a thousand happenings where you meet a person (ok, a guy) that you've heard tell of (not in a matchmaking sense but in an informative sense) in person and feel like they (he) are looking at you for the next hour
and then you come home and go, wait a minute, I think he was one of the guys that sent me a message on ChristianMingle, so you go on said online dating site but don't recognize him,
and then, tonight, you go back on and click on the handsome guy's profile that sent you a message, look at his other pics, look at his profile info, FB google the guy's name you met in person, and go, OH YES, that was him, same picture, I just didn't recognize him, and he HAD sent me a message on ChristianMingle before we met,
so you wonder if he recognized you from online all that time we were in the same building...but too much time has passed for you to really care or feel too awkward but the coincidence is still rather funny,
and as he's divorced and you have already generally ruled out divorced men because you don't know what to do with Matthew 19 (is that the right chapter?),
it's not one of those girly OOOOOOOOOOHHH moments. :)
Like I said, one in a thousand.